There’s a good chance I won’t be uploading as many posts as other authors/bloggers but hopefully the ones I do post will be of use to whoever finds them. With that said, my posts will mostly focus on my ups, downs, and missteps as I try to become a respected author. After today I’ll probably start at the beginning of this whole journey, but right now I have a few nuggets of wisdom for anyone who’s trying to create their own website (which I may get into more detail a few posts later):
Search for your website
I know this goes without saying, but to be more specific, search for as many variations of your site as you can think of before hanging your MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner. If you’re anything like me then you’re not an expert at any of this which means you more than likely revised your site a ridiculous number of times. The nice part about that is when you’re done you have something to be proud of that’ll hopefully represent you and what you plan to offer the rest of the world. The downside is that every time you publish a change (Full Disclosure: I definitely DID NOT build this site from scratch…WORDPRESS ALL THE WAY, BABY!!!) you run the risk of leaving an outdated page floating through the internet.
For some people this wouldn’t be a big deal but personally I try to put my best foot forward in situations like these (for obvious reasons). Having a potential fan click on a link and seeing “Oops! This page cannot be found…” or something to this effect may seem harmless, then again it could also very well undermine the small bit of credibility you’re trying to scrape together. Fortunately search engines have a solution for just such occasions. My situation just so happened to be with Google, but regardless, all you need to do is a quick search (“removing outdated content”) then follow their instructions.
Protect your privacy
This is something that I didn’t give a second thought about until I got a random text message from a complete stranger informing me my personal information was now available online to whoever was interested. At first it was a bit unnerving, then somehow I tried to rationalize the whole thing. I figured even if my phone number and a few minor details were out there it’d be fine. As much stuff as people post on Facebook and other social media sites I’d just be another face in the crowd. After a while, though, it really did start to bother me; the idea of someone selling this information to a company (or several hundred) and being bombarded with emails and text messages for services I didn’t want or need. Or, even worse, the thought of that one person in the whole world you don’t want having access to your private information getting their hands on this data (and trust me, even if you think you don’t have someone like that in your life, chances are there’s definitely someone out there).
Backtracking a bit, before you create your site you need to find a proper hosting company. As such, one of the services they probably offer relates to hiding your information from the general public, namely those who enjoy WHOIS domain searches. These searches help bring transparency to the internet, putting some people at ease with the knowledge that whoevers site they’re on isn’t just a shadowy figure sitting behind a computer screen. On the other hand, if you’re a private person (like yours truly) or haven’t hit the level of fame where hiding the details of your life is all but impossible, I would suggest paying the extra $0.90 a month to keep that small portion of your life under wraps (at least for the time being).
Enjoy your small victory
One of the best parts of taking your first steps toward a goal is knowing that you’re ahead of about 99% of the rest of the planet. There’ll be plenty of time to stress and panic later, but for now give yourself a pat on the back for doing something most people just talk about. And trust me, a lot of people in this world talk a great game but as the days, weeks, and months go by you’ll slowly see the herd thinning out. If you’re just beginning then nothing you do really has to be perfect, it just has to be above average. If you’re unknown then no one has any high expectations for you, which gives you a slight advantage. This is the point in your life where you do more than the bare minimum, where you under-promise and over-deliver. Without a doubt your books are where the most critical judgments will come from, but having a sloppy, lazy or plain website won’t do you any favors. Just sayin’…